Brexit: The view from the North East's MEPs

The two Labour MEPs for the North East have expressed their shock at the perceived lack of impact assessments for Brexit by the Government.

Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen also renewed their call for the UK to retain its membership of the Single Market and Customs Union in the wake of last week’s criticism of Brexit Minister David Davis’ admission that, despite previous statements, there has only been a ‘sectoral analysis’ of some industries.

Ms Kirton-Darling said: “Around 100,000 jobs in the North East are linked to exports in Europe and more than half of the goods we export from the region go to EU member states.

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“There is an enormous amount at stake, but the Government is toying around with the future prosperity of our region.

“Is unemployment in the North East going to rise at unprecedented levels after Brexit?

“Which sector will be the hardest hit?

“How will our universities continue to carry out globally-acclaimed research?

“We need all of this information so we can prepare and after 18 months of empty promises, the Government is still empty-handed.”

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Mr Brannen added: “The North East is the poorest English region and independent studies have already shown that we are set to lose out economically in the aftermath of Brexit, to the tune of an estimated £8billion.

“By insisting that Britain will leave the Single Market and Customs Union in 2019, when nearly nine out of 10 businesses in the North East want to stay in, Theresa May is blindly leading the country towards a cliff-edge Brexit.

“The clock is ticking and the Government has clearly not done its homework, alas.”

Meanwhile, the North East’s Ukip MEP, Jonathan Arnott, has described Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations as ‘a betrayal’ but welcomed that the plans will eventually result in Britain leaving the EU.

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He said: “Senior EU figures are now openly calling for a United States of Europe by 2025; the good news is that we’re getting off the train before it reaches a destination where almost nobody in the UK wants to go.

“When the former President of the European Parliament, now the second-most powerful politician in Germany, joins forces with the European Parliament’s chief negotiator, it’s clear they mean business.

“Now, more than ever, it’s vital to our nation’s future that we leave the European Union. Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations are indeed a betrayal of what we voted for, but these plans will eventually result in leaving the European Union.

“This is not a hard Brexit, nor is it a soft Brexit. It is a slow Brexit.”